05/16/2021 00: 16 Updated to 05/16/2021 01:31
If the party that won the constituent elections in Catalonia in 1977 had not been the standard bearer for the return of Josep Tarradellas, perhaps the Generalitat would not have been reinstated immediately. It was made possible by the constructive predisposition of Joan Reventós, even if he was not thanked for it. At that time, the patriarch of postwar Catalan socialism, rather than claiming his victory or prioritizing the consolidation of his leadership, proved to have a sense of state. Thus, the historical institution of self-government was the benchmark in the country because the citizens gave it an authentic national recognition. Now, forty years later, the PSC could replicate that founding gesture. The Tarradellista Salvador Illa can fill the signifying of his victory with content. The winner of the February 14 elections, whose sense of state is his main personal capital, hopes to see the name of Pere Aragonès on his phone to start empowering the Generalitat again.
Since the ruling on the Statute, which constitutionalized the territorial state of 1978 downward, the self-government has been trapped in a dynamic of disempowerment. The bet to reverse it, from the outset, was material. In theory it was the route chosen by Artur Mas, but he himself derailed it. If in July 2012 it was possible to reach a consensus on a proposal on the fiscal pact in the Parliament, which stressed the PSC to the maximum, Mas threw it into the dustbin of history after the publicized refusal one afternoon. Rajoy’s no was the alibi for an electoral advance that above all responded to the public opinion surveys mirage. Since then, little work has been done on reforming the financing system, while the main action promoted from Plaça Sant Jaume has been to call us to the polls over and over again. In less than nine years, four more elections plus the 9-N and the 1-O.
If the 14-F winner chose to invest Pere Aragonès, he would show a sense of State
This is how institutions have wasted their authority and citizenship has been affectively polarized, making transversal agreements impossible since a growing part of Catalans is disconnecting from self-government. The democratic attack, today, above all is the blockade of the Generalitat. Either you keep going backwards along that route or, finally, you explore another. Someone must take the step. Now there is an opportunity for the pragmatic turn.
If Salvador Illa chose to invest Pere Aragonès, putting the interests of the country before those of the party, he would demonstrate a sense of State that Catalan politics dramatically lacks. First of all, the threat of electoral repetition would be removed, which is an insult to the voters, but above all the blocks would begin to break, a necessary condition for the Generalitat to be the promoter of Reconstruction in Catalonia. The authority of this gesture would be further strengthened by the granting of pardons, which have to be explained as a first reparation for the catastrophic management that the State made of the illiberal challenge of October. And by turning this commitment to the reactivation of self-government into fact, the position of the PSC at the dialogue table would have more force. At the first meeting they could take the document Towards a constitutional review of our autonomous model. Rajoy let it rot; it was written by Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba and can be read in the biography dedicated to him by Antonio Caño. It is a solution.
But for that to happen, Salvador Illa’s phone needs to ring. And that he takes on the role of the long-awaited hero of the retreat. Many years ago H.M. Enzensberger characterized it: “The place of the classical hero has come to be occupied in recent decades by other protagonists, in my opinion more important: heroes of a new style who do not represent triumph, conquest, victory, but resignation, demolition, disassembly”.